Putting all speculations to rest, Assam Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on January 25th, 2020 clarified that the Centre would not upgrade the state’s Bodoland Territorial Area Districts (BTAD) to a Union Territory, as part of a new peace accord to be signed between various stakeholders and the Centre.
Addressing a press meet in Guwahati, Sarma said, “Neither Union Territory will be created nor new areas will be added to the BTAD. Assam’s territorial integrity will be kept intact if a fresh Accord is signed in the near future.”
In 2003, an accord was signed with the militant group Bodo Liberation Tigers, which lead to the formation of a Bodoland Territorial Council with four districts of Assam – Kokrajhar, Chirang, Baska and Udalguri – called the BTAD. The region is predominantly inhabited by the indigenous Bodo people and other indigenous communities of Assam.
He added, “The framework of the accord is being prepared by the Centre. It will bring permanent peace in Bodoland. The people of Assam should rest assured that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah will never agree to any agreement which will divide Assam.”
The Centre is likely to sign an accord with the banned Assam-based insurgent group National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB) on January 27th, 2020, the PTI reported.
The four factions of the NDFB, which will sign the pact, are led by Ranjan Daimary, Govinda Basumatary, Dhiren Boro and B Saoraigwra.
The tripartite agreement will be signed in the presence of Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, top leaders of the four factions of the NDFB, Joint Secretary in the Home Ministry Satyendra Garg and Assam Chief Secretary Kumar Sanjay Krishna.
Photo credit: @himantabiswa